Chingford News

Faiza Shaheen says Labour is ‘splitting’ anti-Tory vote in Chingford and Woodford Green

Around 80 locals turned up to support the nascent independent candidate at Chingford United Reformed Church yesterday, reports Marco Marcelline

Faiza speaking at Chingford United Reformed Church hall yesterday (15th June), Credit: Andy Sewell

Faiza Shaheen said that Labour is “splitting” the anti-Tory vote in Chingford and Woodford Green at a rally yesterday morning (15th June). 

The comments were made to around 80 locals who turned up to support the nascent independent candidate at Chingford United Reformed Church yesterday, a week after the official launch of her campaign to take on Conservative incumbent Iain Duncan Smith and the Labour candidate Shama Tatler. 

Introducing Faiza, her actor husband Akin Gazi said that the Labour Party had thrown all the “hard work” her volunteers had done “in the bin”, adding: “[Labour] thought we’d go away and cry, but no, we’re here. This is not a protest vote. This is a vote for Faiza.”

Rallying the crowd, Faiza began by criticising the Labour Party’s electoral approach in the constituency: “People are angry at a political system that forgot about this community and parachuted in a candidate from the other side of London as if they wouldn’t notice. Every conversation we have is making a difference. What they’re hearing from the other side is you can’t vote for who you want; that you have to vote tactically. 

On the doorstep [Labour] is saying that a vote for me is a vote for IDS [Iain Duncan Smith]. It’s absolutely not.”

Around 80 supporters turned up at the rally yesterday, Credit: Andy Sewell

Faiza also highlighted her career as an inequality advisor and policymaker while attacking Labour’s perceived pro-business stance.  “Inequality is mentioned just once in the Labour Party manifesto. Business is mentioned many more times. When I was [their] candidate [Labour] told me I couldn’t talk about corporate greed. They said ‘no Faiza, that’s anti-business’. They told me I was going rogue by supporting teacher strikes.”

She added: “We’ve got less than three weeks to cause a big political upset. I am in this to win it. I don’t think anyone has put in more effort to get IDS out than me, adding: “It’s Labour that’s splitting the [anti-Tory] vote, not me.”

In an official campaign leaflet, Faiza says that her “strong support for Palestine” was a “key reason” for her being blocked from standing for Labour in the general election. She wrote: “Tweets that were used against me included retweeting what goods to boycott, and another where I had tweeted an article which said I think Israel is an apartheid state.”

Faiza added that she attended protests for Palestine despite the Labour leadership banning candidates from doing so.

Briefly speaking to the Echo following her speech, she said local people were exercised by her sudden and swift deselection.

She said: “The Labour Party miscalculated how much anger there is towards my deselection… people don’t like to see a new mum treated that way and this is an area that’s got a lot of new mums.”


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When the Echo asked what she thought of the fact that Labour announced a new candidate within 24 hours of her deselection, she alluded to the process having been pre-planned: “They wanted to get rid of me. The whole thing stinks.” 

Faiza hugs a supporter at the rally, Credit: Andy Sewell

Supporter Alistair Smailes said that the focus of the campaign is on “making sure that people realise Faiza is an independent candidate and that they need to look for her name on the ballot paper.”

He added: “She has a huge amount of support in the community, and there’s been a hugely positive reaction on the doorstep.”

Charlie Smith, a secondary school teacher from Highams Park, said he had become aware of Faiza during her 2019 run and would have voted for her if he had lived in the constituency at the time. 

“I was quite incensed by her deselection. Not many constituencies have a candidate like Faiza. She’s different and genuine. Her election would be historic and monumental and [it] would put Chingford and Woodford Green on the map.”

He described Labour’s chosen candidate as a “careerist” who is “part of the Labour machine”. 

Faiza’s Labour replacement Shama Tatler has been actively campaigning in Chingford and Woodford Green, and was joined by shadow health secretary and Ilford North MP Wes Streeting on the trail today.

In a recent interview with OnLondon, the candidate described the electoral situation in Chingford and Woodford Green as being a “two-horse race” between her and Iain Ducan Smith, and added there had been a “good” reaction on the doorstep to Labour thus far. 

Her canvassing team has appeared to consist of a considerable number of Redbridge Labour councillors. Waltham Forest councillors who have appeared with Shama to support her campaign include Grace Williams, Vicky Ashworth, Khevyn Limbajee, Clyde Loakes, Kira Lewis, Caramel Quin, and Elizabeth Baptiste.

Meanwhile, Iain Duncan Smith was joined by the secretary of state for business and trade Kemi Badenoch on the campaign trail in Chingford last weekend (8th June). In an earlier video posted to his Facebook page, Duncan Smith trawled through issues that he had been made aware of on the doorstep and, citing the need for the Whipps Cross Hospital  rebuild, said the money for it was there but it just needed to be “signed off”.  He has been the MP for the area since 1992. 

The general election is on 4th July.


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